Category Archives: Caribbean Plus Lit News

Literary news of interest from the Caribbean and wider world

Mailbox – Commonwealth announces Regional Winners of Short Story Prize

commonwealth.pngCommonwealth Writers is delighted to announce the regional winners for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The five outstanding stories were successful in a year of fierce competition when the Prize received a record 6,000 entries from across the Commonwealth.

Janet Steel, Programme Manager of Commonwealth Writers, said:
“We are extremely proud of the Short Story Prize. Every year, as the number of entries increase, we are both thrilled and honoured that writers take the time to send us their precious and sometimes very personal stories from around the world.

The prize is at the heart of all the work we do at Commonwealth Writers. It’s a chance for new writers to shine from around the Commonwealth and be recognised on a global platform. Some of the writers may have come up through our craft development initiatives, others may have been writing for years but what they all have in common is a passion and a commitment to writing stories that are moving, enlightening and make people sit up and listen.”

The winning writers are: READ MORE

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love

Mailbox – Goodison is Jamaica’s First Female Poet Laureate

crb-28-lorna-goodison

‘”I try as best as I can to be a true representation of the life of my people, the ordinary Jamaican,” said a spirited Lorna Goodison, CD, Poet Laureate of Jamaica for 2017-2020.

In a ceremony held at King’s House on Wednesday, Goodison, 69, was invested by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen as the second officially recognised Poet Laureate of Jamaica, the fourth since 1953 and the very first female holder.

A national honour, the title is bestowed on a distinguished Jamaican poet for his/her significant contribution to the literary community.

A Poet Laureate is expected to stimulate a greater appreciation for Jamaican poetry, write poems for national occasions, and preserve and disseminate the island’s cultural heritage through prose.

“I am inspired by our (Jamaican) dialect, our resilience, and just the way we value our humanity regardless of the negatives that are happening all around. Poets are supposed to give voice to the voiceless and a lot of my works reflect this,” the St Hugh’s High alumna told The Gleaner.’ READ MORE.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

Mailbox – Word!

Caribbean Cultural Theatre’s Caribbean Lit Fest is coming up in June – Caribbean American Heritage Month – and will celebrate Caribbean Literary Classics, Old and New!

The afternoon-long program in New York has activities for book lovers of all ages of readings, author signings and discussion, as well as film screenings based on the work of Caribbean literary pioneers. It promises new venues, new programs, new writers (including Antigua and Barbuda’s Cray Francis), and new stories.

In the tri-state area? Go here for the breakdown.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love

Mailbox – Small Islands

“Featuring the work of seventeen writers, So Many Islands, explores the many aspects of small island living – highlighting the variations and connections between islands and islanders who are literally and figuratively worlds apart.

Here writers have humanised and vocalised the issues of Small Island Developing States in ways that reports and statistics cannot. This wide range of writing harnesses the transformative power of words to encourage understanding and inspire change.”

Writers in this collection include: Angela Barry (Bermuda); Cecil Browne (St. Vincent & the Grenadines); Damon Chua (Singapore); Emma Lewis (Malta); Erato Ioannou (Cyprus); Fetuolemoana Elisara (Samoa); Heather Barker (Barbados); Karlo Mila (Tonga); Kendel Hippolyte (St. Lucia); Marita Davies (Kiribati); Melanie Schwapp (Jamaica); Mere Taito (Rotuman Island); Mikoyan Vekula (Niue); Sabah Carrim (Mauritius); Tammi Browne-Bannister (Antigua & Barbuda); Tracy Assing (Trinidad); Jacob Ross (Grenada).

READ MORE.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News

WADADLI PEN Challenge – Who won what in 2017?

As always, we couldn’t do this without support. In 2017, this has meant partners Barbara Arrindell, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Margaret Irish, Devra Thomas, Floree Whyte – along with intern Michaela Harris and judges Glen Toussaint and Sharifa George – volunteering, working together, and playing our roles. We, especially, couldn’t do it without our patrons; without them, we would have no rewards to offer our deserving writers. So, we pause to say thank you. Thank you for coming through (mostly). Thank you for making it possible for us to encourage and reward the cream of Wadadli Pen Challenge’s 2017 crop as decided by our judging team. Thank you for your tangible contribution to the arts and youth development in our twin island state, Antigua and Barbuda. To anyone reading this, we encourage you to support the businesses (also the individuals and organizations) that support the arts.

Here’s how the prizes break down – in addition to certificates for each winner from Wadadli Pen, sponsored by the Best of Books:

School with the Most Submissions Island Academy International School (22 out of 93 eligible submissions)

  • Writing workshop with facilitator fee and miscellaneous expenses to be covered by a patron who wishes to remain anonymous
  • EC$500 gift certificate toward the purchase of books, sponsored by the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank
  • CAPE and CSEC books across several subject areas, contributed by Harper Collins logo
12 and younger

12 and Younger category winners (from left Ashley, Zion, Shadiael, and Emma) at the May 13th award ceremony. Photo by Linisa George/Art. Culture. Antigua

12 and Younger

Finalists in the 12 and Younger category receive gifts sponsored by US-based Antiguan and Barbudan Juneth Webson and books contributed by Harper Collins logoplus:

Honourable MentionAshley Francis (11, student at St. Andrew’s School; author of ‘Our Caribbean’)

3rdShadiael Simmons (11, student at Baptist Academy; author of ‘Brave Eleven-year-old saved Two Months Baby’)

  • EC$75 contributed byArt_Culture_Antigua-logo
  • With Grace, a book by Joanne C. Hillhouse, contributed by publisher Little Bell Caribbean

2ndEmma Belizaire (11, student at St. Andrew’s school; author of ‘Cricket is My Life’)

1stZion Ebony Williams (11, student at Baptist Academy; author of ‘Those who don’t hear, will feel’)

  • EC$125 contributed byArt_Culture_Antigua-logo
  • With Grace, a book by Joanne C. Hillhouse, contributed by publisher Little Bell Caribbean
  • EC$50 gift certificate for books, contributed by the Cushion Club
13 to 17

13 to 17 category winners (from left Francis, Devon, and Andrecia) at the May 13th award ceremony. Photo by Linisa George/Art. Culture. Antigua

13 to 17

3rd (tie) – Andrecia Lewis (17, student at Antigua State College; author of ‘Strange’)

3rd (tie) – Francis Yankey (16, student at Antigua Grammar School; author of ‘And She sang Fire’)

2ndAva C. Ralph (16, student at Antigua Girls’ High School; author of ‘Non Fiction?’)

1stDevon Wuilliez (16, student at Island Academy International School; author of ‘The Great Big Dumz’)

18 to 35

18 to 35 winners (from left Lucia, Kaeiron, and Fayola) with the Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque at the May 13th awards ceremony. Photo by Linisa George/Art. Culture. Antigua

18 to 35

3rdFayola Jardine (author of ‘Shakiyah and the Mango Hater’)

  • EC$100 contributed by Caribbean Reads Publishing
  • Books on writing – 3 A M Epiphany by Brian Kitely and This Year You write Your Novel by Walter Mosely, and Just Write Writers’ retreat scholarship, contributed by Brenda Lee Browne
  • Books contributed by Harper Collins logo

2ndLucia Murray (student, St. Anthony’s Secondary School; author of ‘Mr. Duppy’)

1stKaeiron Saunders (teacher, St. Anthony’s Secondary School; author of ‘Not Another Island Story; as told by Auntie Gah’)

  • EC$300 contributed by Juneth Webson
  • Gift basket/bag of products contributed by Raw Island
  • Book on writing – Unleash the Poem by Wendy Nyemaster, contributed by Brenda Lee Browne
  • Books contributed by Harper Collins logo
Winner K S

At the awards: Kaeiron Saunders, overall winner, with the Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque which bears the names of all the winners since Wadadli Pen started in 2004. Photo by Linisa George/Art. Culture. Antigua

Top Three Overall

3rd – Zion Ebony Williams Zion

2nd – Devon Wuilliez Devon W for posting

Winner! Winner! Winner! – Kaeiron Saunders Saunders cropped

Featured image and some of the included images by Linisa George/Art_Culture_Antigua-logo Thanks to them. Thanks as well to the media who helped us get the word out including Antigua Nice, where Wadadli Pen has a year-round presence as their contribution to our project; and media who shared our notices and releases, or who hosted us for interviews (primarily ABS and Observer media). Thanks all; any oversights are not intentional.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen 2017, Wadadli Pen News

A Teacher Claims the 2017 Wadadli Pen Prize

PRESS RELEASE

A Teacher Claims the 2017 Wadadli Pen Prize

Twenty-three year old Kaeiron Saunders Saunders croppedwas announced, at the Wadadli Stories Book Fair on May 13th, as the 2017 winner of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Saunders, a lecturer at St. Anthony’s Secondary School (SASS), only the second teacher to be added to the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaquechallenge plaque, won the main prize and her age category, 18 to 35, with the poem ‘Not Another Island Story; as told by Auntie Gah’.

The Wadadli Pen Challenge, an Antigua and Barbuda literary prize launched in 2004, requires that entries be Caribbean, while leaving the interpretation of that up to the writers’ imagination. For some it can be constricting, for others an opportunity to freely imagine a transforming Caribbean. This poem does both, acknowledging the confines of the same story told over and over,

‘“Not another island story, Auntie,
I’ve heard it all before”
But every year, around this time
Auntie Gah would add more.’

As it presents and critiques this nostalgic approach to Caribbean storytelling, it, also, makes the point that neither the Caribbean nor our perception of it is fixed in time.

“Hush and listen to my story
The point is not to criticize
But to show that the good within a society
Is relative to each new generation’s eyes”

That this rhythmic poem both acknowledges and subverts the clichés, earned the judges’ approval. They dubbed it a “great piece!”

Also coming in for approval were Devon WuilliezDevon, a 16-year-old Island Academy student, for her poem, ‘The Great Big Dumz’, and 11-year old Zion Ebony WilliamsZion, of Baptist Academy, for her story ‘Those who don’t hear, will feel’. Both won their respective age categories – 13 to 17, and 12 and younger – on the way to claiming the 2nd and 3rd prize overall.

It’s worth noting that while Saunders and Wuilliez are first-timers, Williams first submitted to Wadadli Pen in 2014 and has made two previous trips to the finals of her age category before this year claiming the top spot and a spot in the overall top three. For organizers this line-up is reflective of what Wadadli Pen hopes to do: encourage new voices to come forward, challenge practicing voices to keep pushing themselves, and foster growth in terms of the craft of writing in Antigua and Barbuda.

Other long listed writers are Andrecia Lewis (author of ‘Strange’), enrolled at the Antigua State College; Ava C. Ralph (author  of ‘Non Fiction?’), of Antigua Girls High School; Francis Yankey (author of ‘And She Sang Fire’), of the Antigua Grammar School; Fayola Jardine (author of ‘Shakiyah and the Mango Hater’); Lucia Murray (author of ‘Mr. Duppy’), a student at SASS; Shadiael Simmons (author of ‘Brave 11-year-old saves Baby from Fire’), a student at Baptist Academy; St. Andrew’s students Emma Belizaire (author of ‘Cricket is My Life’) and Ashley Francis (author of ‘Our Caribbean’), plus Island Academy, the school with the most submissions. Their rewards are a mix of cash, gifts, and time. Contributing patrons are Art. Culture. Antigua, Barbuda Express, the Best of Books, Brenda Lee Browne, Caribbean Reads Publishing, Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis, the Cushion Club, Danz’s Sweet Dreams, the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank, Frank B. Armstrong, Harper Collins, the International Women’s Club of Antigua and Barbuda, Jane Seagull, Jennifer Meranto, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Juneth Webson, Little Bell Caribbean, Monique S. Simon and the Caribbean Folklore Project, Paperclips, Raw Island Products, the West Indies Cricket Board, and one other regular patron who prefers to remain anonymous.

For the full breakdown of winners and prizes, and to read the winning stories, visit wadadlipen.wordpress.com

==END==

This is the press release circulated for media use about the 2017 Wadadli Pen Challenge after the May 13th 2017 Awards during the Wadadli Stories Book Fair. Please feel free to share. If you have questions, email wadadlipen@gmail.com

Featured image courtesy, a group shot of finalists and Wadadli Pen coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, at the awards, courtesy Art. Culture. Antigua.

3 Comments

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen 2017, Wadadli Pen News, Wadadli Pen Open Mic, Workshop

Wadadli Stories Q & A

Wadadli StoriesYou’re at the Wadadli Pen blog so, presumably, you know this is the online home of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize. If you don’t, go here. I promise to stop talking all things Wadadli Pen soon (I know everyone is not as hyped as I am about this) but our Awards are next weekend and, in spite of my other readings and panel at the May 13th Wadadli Stories Book Fair, for me the dopest part of the whole deal (the part I’m most looking forward to) is the Wadadli Pen Awards when we finally get to pat these young Antiguan and Barbudan writers on the back, and encourage them to keep writing and to never ever be afraid of using their voice.

There is, of course, lots more to see and do at the Book Fair and for the rundown we have Best of Books store manager Barbara Arrindell, the person whose idea sparked this entire event. Kudos, in advance, to her for moving inspiration in to thought, thought in to action, and action in to an event I believe the entire community will enjoy. As you’ll see in the interview, there’s something for everyone.

Wadadli Pen: What possessed you to take this on?

Barbara: Many countries large and small have literally events as part of their national calendar of events. There are things planned by government entities and things planned by private groups. In Antigua we have a few activities planned by individuals and service groups and in more recent times there has been a reading day planned through the Ministry of Education but I believe we need more if we are going to encourage our population older and young to read and write more. And the more for me should show the fun side of reading.

Wadadli Pen: On the point of fun, in today’s world of addictive video games, social media, and Netflix bingeing, how can you (and by you, I mean, parents etc. and you the organizer of this event) convince kids that reading books isn’t just this chore they have to suffer through in school? In what ways does this event try to showcase that reading is not only fundamental but fun?

Barbara: We are having celebrity readers. Hopefully, these will be some names and people they know. We are hoping that the message that comes across is that if these “cool” successful people read and have come here just to read to me. Then maybe reading really is cool. Also we hope that they will be exposed to books beyond what they use in the classroom. We come across little people from time to time who have no books in their home other than their school books so they associate books only with school work.

Wadadli Pen: What goes in to organizing something like this? Tell us a bit about how the sausage gets made?

schedule

Barbara: Hmmm. Everything we do starts with making a decision to see it through to the end. If a lead organizer is lucky he/she finds a few people who share the vision and are willing to work as a team to make it happen. Contributing what they can and doing what they can. No exception here. So an online call was made for such people and two face-to-face meetings were held. Beyond that most of our organizing was done via WhatsApp. We’ve been lucky to have a few people like Natalie Clark and Marissa Walter who have been able to reach out to their contacts to get much of the physical  things we needed. Marissa was able to secure bathrooms from Island Sanitation and tents from Digicel. She also reached out to our onsite vendors Bobby’s​ Treats, the Sunshine Ice Cream Man and Brydens. Natalie negotiated with ACB [Antigua Commercial Bank] to get use of the parking lot [note: the event venue is the ACB Parking Lot on St. Mary’s Street], she communicated with the police and EMS to have them on hand. She reached out to the youth empowerment centre to borrow some of their resources and to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. We have Louis Rivera and his team. skellihoppersThey created our logo and have done much of the design work for our online promotion. Many other people worked behind the scenes. Sonja George is coordinating our 18+ Erotica tent. Glen Toussaint and team are pulling together a Comi-Com tent.

erotica comic on.png

We have Jeriann George pulling together our celebrity readers. JerryAnn Francis working on our Jolly Phonics parents and teachers demonstration session. Mona Gardner of CHATS [Center for the Holistic Advancement of Therapeutic Services] and Dr Jillia Bird will be there conducting free screening. Dr. Bird will focus on sight. She will be testing young people 18 and under, while Ms. Gardner will be looking for things that have an impact on speech and the way we learn to read and process. She will see patients 0-99. She encourages parents to bring out their little children and have them tested if they suspect that there may be something going on that may stand in the way of their child learning. Sometimes understanding is all that is needed so that parents know how to proceed. The earlier the better, she says. And she wants to see adults because it is never to late to improve a situation. She also encourages people who have experienced a stroke or any injury that may have affected the brain to come and see her. This screening is FREE. in office these consultations could cost $200.

testing

Wadadli Pen: How much are you looking forward to this… to be over? And as the person who publicly resigned her post as Independence Lit coordinator during the awards ceremony  with an open letter challenging the Minister to hire a lit arts coordinator and get serious about the year round developemnt of the lit arts…how would you like to see this activity go forward beyond May 13th?

Barbara: I’m still annoyed at the fact that with all these highly educated people floating through our political landscape we have not seen fit to appoint someone to take responsibility for coordinating events .. as part of our culture .. you know the way we have a dance coordinator and a music person and pan ..And so much more. I get annoyed each month when I get an invitation from a government office in Barbados inviting me to participate in an activity and perhaps less frequently from almost every Caribbean space ..EXCEPT Antigua and Barbuda. I’m annoyed when all these people ask me for an hour of my time​ saying they are consultants with the government working on propoals to bring literary arts to the forefront in Antigua and Barbuda and then not a damn thing seems to happen. I’ve had two such interviews this year alone… and for the record I’ve blowm off a few others because I’d rather spend my energy doing rather than talking.

And on to Barbara’s final thoughts.

Barbara: Oh I haven’t mentioned our history and discussion corner featuring a talk by Keithlyn Smith author of To Shoot Hard Labour and a talk by the Reparations commission. I also haven’t mentioned our self development sessions and panel discussions. The first by HaMa on screen Writing. hamaThen a session on moving your manuscript forward by Joanne Hillhouse and Chadd Cumberbatch. Then a session on business and inspirational writing by Chrys Ann Ambrose and Dr. Dave Ray. We’ll also have an international publisher on hand from Harper Collins UK who is flying in from the UK to coordinate our primary and secondary school spelling Bees 17854813_10154497215021188_8497364273538347535_oand will be joining Joanne and Chadd’s panel discussion hoping to meet potential writers (primarily teachers interested​ in contributing to text books but authors in general).

And even more final thoughts.

Barbara: When I look at this event in it’s entirity ..the whole thing is dope. It is being promoted as “Wadadli Stories ..more than words”, yet we are starting off with a sort of academic thing A Spelling Bee because our Wadadli Stories do usually start with words so we want our young people to have command of our words and our language. But the event unfolds into so many unusual and interesting events. People walking around in costume as Comi-Com fans staking their claim in the literary world dispelling the idea that comics aren’t books… Our writers of Erotica ..saying we may not be for the young ..but we have a time and place … Our political figures ..our radio and TV hosts ..our musical stars our authors our artists ..our everybody .. getting involved.. now that’s cool. .and then we bring it to a close with the Wadali Pen writing challenge awards ceremony. We are happy  to host this awards ceremony within Wadadli Stories because it is a celebration of dedication and commitment by the coordinators and the teachers  who get it and know they need to encourage  participation in writing challenges. We  celebrate Wadadli Pen for providing young promising writers with an opportunity to flex their writing muscles for so many years. We are going to have little children and big grown men and women and everyone in between having a great time with “the word”… and we are doing it on the day before Mother’s Day and we hope that people will remember those who mothered the word in Wadadli… people like the Hart Sisters and Nellie Robinson … and many others ..people who ventured down their own path ignoring people who didn’t understand their methods.

Thanks to Barbara; sounds like it’ll be a busy and productive day, but also lots of fun. See you there, Antigua.  You, too, Barbuda.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen 2017, Wadadli Pen News, Workshop